Handy Tips for Lowering Your Bills

With so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, consumers are always in search of new ways to save money. What too many folks don’t realize is that there are many financial hacks that can help them lower their bills – and they aren’t new at all.

To get a handle of your personal finance situation, take a look at six of the smartest ways people can start saving more of their dollars today.

1. Make Small Changes to Lower Your Energy Bills

One thing we all have in common is that we spend money each month on energy bills. So why not take small steps to owe a little less at the end of the month? Households spend the bulk of their energy bills in five areas:

  • Water
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Appliances
  • Electronics

The good news is that small adjustments in any of these areas can take a bite out of your monthly energy bills. For example, you can minimize “phantom power” – energy wasted by appliances that are plugged in but not in use – in two different ways. Either unplug them individually, or connect them to a power strip and turn that off when nothing is in use.

2. Call Billing Companies and Departments to Ask for Help

Have you tried the most direct route toward lowering your bills? That would be to call and ask for help, person to person. Companies don’t always advertise that there are better rates or deals available. And even if there isn’t a better rate at a particular place, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Sometimes the devil is in the details. Maybe your insurance company can bundle types of insurance or adjust the terms of your agreement. You might discover that paying through a checking account instead of your credit card saves a few dollars a month. Making an annual or biannual habit of reviewing your bills individually will keep you up to date with any new programs available to you that could potentially lower your monthly expenses.

3. Make Adjustments to Your Cooling and Heating Systems & Appliances

Small adjustments to your household’s cooling and heating systems can also help keep costs lower than necessary, and they don’t have to leave you sitting in the cold. Did you know the water heater is usually set to a higher than necessary temperature? Lowering that setting by a few degrees can create savings that add up over time. So can using the energy saving feature on your dishwater, using cold water settings on your washing machine, and air drying your laundry.

4. Adjust Cell Phone Data Plan – or Use a Prepaid Phone Product

Remember when cell phone plans came with a set amount of minutes to choose from? Now the plans are measured in terms of data – something that consumers can also adjust to their advantage. Be sure you’re not paying for features you aren’t using. It’s worth it to take a closer look and find out you know what your options are:

  1. Find out how much data you use
  2. Ask about cheaper options
  3. Don’t assume you need unlimited data
  4. Consider using a prepaid plan

If you can no longer afford your phone, look into prepaid phone products that are more affordable.

5. Negotiate Medical Bills

Some people swear by their ability to negotiate medical bills. The result may depend on your healthcare provider, hospital, doctor, and other factors. If you just received a hefty medical bill, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Ask for an itemized bill
  2. Compare with your insurance EOB (explanation of benefits)
  3. Seek financial assistance
  4. Set up a payment plan
  5. Ask for a medical bill advocate or counselor

if the data on your EOB doesn’t line up with what is showing up on your bill, it may turn out you were billed incorrectly. Working with some form of advocate or counselor might relieve some of the stress you’re experiencing and even reveal ways to lower that medical bill.

6. Use Prepaid Debit Card & Other Currency Exchange Financial Services

Sometimes we overspend without realizing it. In that case, picking up a prepaid debit card at a community currency exchange (CCEA) can help by only giving you access to the amount of money you loaded onto it. That is just one of many financial services you’ll find at your local Currency Exchange that can make money management a whole lot easier for you this year.

Visit CCEA online, or stop by your nearest CCEA location and discover more personal financial solutions today.

A man and a woman looking at a laptop screen together.

With over 350 locations, many open nights, weekends, and holidays (and several stores with 24/7 availability), you can rest easy knowing your financial needs can be taken care of when you need them most. We’re in the heart of every community. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.